Thank goodness that notorious grigalata had reached our islands at the weekend.
Image source: Maltatoday
Otherwise, it would’ve disrupted one of the transport minister’s debatable short-term solutions to reduce traffic congestion by travelling to work by sea. Throughout that dreadful weekend, his mind must’ve been flooded with images of boat passengers arriving somewhat queasy at their workplace clad in drenched, hooded raincoats to protect themselves from the pouring rain and sea spray, just like the tourists aboard the boats that steer into dense mist of the Niagara Falls.
And had the storm happened on a weekday, all the precious time spent by his advisers discussing and brainstorming to come up with this brainwave would have, literally, gone down the drain.
The press would’ve had another field day at his expense, and the public would have jeered him yet again over this proposition that, realistically speaking, only the people who live within the harbour areas and who can get to the ferry on foot could possibly consider.
The rest of us who live further inland constitute the great majority of commuters. Yet we’ve not been presented with a real alternative like, for example, a helicopter service from roof to roof, but we live in hope.
However, despite this scenario, the minister continues to plough on with his plan to encourage travel by sea. Little did we know, for instance, that a water feature was in the making whilst the new coast road was under construction. Indeed, during the grigalata, shoddy surface drainage blocked by uncollected debris gave rise, literally, to a new man-made lake right at the foot of Mount Magħtab.
Image source: Independent
And then, the idea came like a stroke of genius. Why not scrap road maintenance altogether? It’s such a nuisance, anyway! Just do away with it and hopefully, next time the heavens open, all the drains on the new coast road will get clogged, leading to severe flooding that will spread into the man-made lake causing it to expand until it becomes large enough to operate a ferry service connecting one end to the other.
How creative is that?
Now close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine a dream development with plenty of parking spaces, an organised park-and-ride service operating a ferry that shuttles across the lake where there are also recreational boating and windsurfing facilities and in the not-so-distant background an artificial snow-covered Magħtab, ski and snowboard hire shops, a cable car to whisk people on to the little mountain and a unique après-ski experience downtown Buġibba to boot.
And that’s not all, folks. Magħtab will be the basis of a nationwide pilot project exploring suitable sites for the formation of sheltered inland lakes, to be filled with seawater daily and stocked with marine fish, by doing away with essential road maintenance in preparation for major landscaping to implement a national action plan promoting water transport.